If you’ve been surfing for a while, you’re probably aware that along the way you’ve somehow developed this weird desire to keep accumulating more and different surfboards. It’s a disease that cannot be cured.
It’s fun to surf a variety of boards – it allows you to get to know your own surfing better – ultimately making you a better surfer on the boards you really like.
But, it also comes with the questions of where am I going to put all these boards and how am I getting them to the beach?
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Surfboard Storage Racks
Surfboard racks come in a variety of styles including:
- Vertical free-standing racks.
- Horizontal free-standing racks.
- Wall-mounted racks.
- Ceiling-hung racks.
- Individual board stands.
What works for you really depends on the number of boards you have, the space in your house, and how much you want to spend.
A dedicated and proper space for your surfboards can help you avoid out-of-water damage that you’ll need to repair.
However, building your own surfboard rack is pretty simple.
Wall-Mounted Surf Racks
A wall-mounted surfboard rack is going to allow you to do all of that with some style.
Whether you’re looking for a surfboard storage solution or a way to put one of your prized boards on display, a wall rack is the way to go.
Wall-mounted surf racks allow you to clear up the floor footprint of your surfboards to better organize your space.
You’ll still have the option to use a wall rack to store your boards either vertically or horizontally – depending on your space and preference.
A horizontal display is great when you don’t have a lot of room to work with or you’re interested in putting your surfboards on display.
Vertical Free-Standing Racks
Sturdy, attractive, dependable…
No, we’re not trying to butter you up. We’re still talking about surf racks!
A vertical surfboard rack is the best option for the main rotation of boards in your quiver.
A rack like this provides quick, easy access to your boards and makes keeping things organized super easy.
Convenience factor aside, vertical racks are a great way to put your boards on display.
Build Your Own Surfboard Rack
The DIY route may be most ideal. For under $50, you can have a totally customized rack that will fit the boards and the space you need it to.
If you have little woodworking and tool experience, you can build a surf rack with just some 2x4s, a saw, a hammer, and nails.
- Cut and nail two supports/legs for each side.
- Connect them at the top to hold the boards
- Connect them towards the middle for support.
- You can add smaller pieces of 2×4 to make clean sections for each board.
- Pad it with cork board, foam, or old neoprene for extra protection.
If you want to get a bit fancier, you can make a pretty sleek surfboard rack that doesn’t require any screws or nails out of a 4×8 sheet of ½” or ¾” Baltic Birch plywood.
This type of plywood surf rack fits together by making notches to fit the different pieces together.
You’ve just got to figure out the dimensions of your rack and the location of the notches. Cut the notches just a hair thinner than the plywood you’re working with – you can always make them a bit bigger.
See crude diagrams for examples.
Surfboard Roof Racks
While it’d sure be nice if we could all have one of those fancy surf vans with couches, kitchens, and custom build board racks – most of us have to deal with what we’ve got, even if it is a clunky old sedan.
If you’ve got a longboard and a little car, you’re going to need to roof racks. Your main options are hard racks or soft racks.
Hard racks are fixed to the car more permanently and used to secure the board down.
Soft racks can be removed from the car and come in various sizes to fit different amounts of boards. They secure the board(s) with different types of ratchet/cinch clamps.
Hard racks tend to feel a bit more secure, as soft racks can flop a bit in the wind – make sure they’re tight!
In a car without roof racks, soft surf racks that include straps to go through your car and straps to secure your surfboards are the way to go.
Soft Racks for Cars
If you’re driving a sedan or and vehicle without built-in roof racks, soft racks that your can secure to the roof are the way to go.
These allow you to put them on quickly and take them off when you’re not surfing so you don’t have to drive around with ropes flopping everywhere.
The soft racks you’re looking for will include:
- 2 sets of foam pads with flat bottoms.
- 2 set of straps that run through each foam pad that feature a strap and buckle that connect through your car and another strap that goes over your boards to secure them.
Many surf shops have racks like these with their name printed on them, if you’d like to go down and support your local. Otherwise, you can order some good ones online.
How to Install Your Surfboard Roof Racks
Here’s how to use your soft racks to carry your surfboards:
- Position the racks on the center of the rook about midway over each window.
- Guide the longer straps down through the door openings and make sure the straps stay untwisted as you do so.
- Connect and tighten these straps on the inside of your car.
- Place your surfboard(s) on top of that pads so that it’s evenly distributed.
- If you’re carrying multiple boards, place the larger boards on the bottom and place something like a towel between each board.
- Thread the remaining straps over your boards and tighten them down.
To help your soft surf racks last as long as possible you should remove and store them when they’re not in use.
Is it safe to drive on the freeway with soft surf racks?
How well your soft racks behave at higher speeds really depends on the types of boards you have on them, how many boards you’re carrying, and how well you’ve tied them down.
For the most part, soft racks are probably going to be perfectly fine as-is at speeds under 50 mph. If you’re driving on the freeway at higher speeds, it might be necessary to secure your boards with additional straps.
Surfboard Racks for Cars with Roof Racks
If you car or SUV already has some hard roof racks, you’ll still want to get some surf racks to protect and secure your boards.
You’ll want to look for soft pads that can attach to your existing rack’s crossbars as well as some quality straps with decent closures to secure your boards.
Tailgate Surf Racks for Trucks
If you drive a truck and place your surfboard in the bed, you can get a pad and strap that goes over your tailgate to secure and protect your board.
Another option is to simply fold a towel over the tail gate and strap the board down with some ratchet straps or ties.
DIY Surfboard Car Rack
If you’re feeling real extra DIY for whatever reason, you could make your own surfboard car racks if you wanted.
You’d need 4 sets of ratchet straps – they could be the ones that ratchet or simply clamp – and a pool noodle.
Cut the noodle in half, feed 2 sets of straps through each one. One set will attach the noodles to the roof of your car, the other is for your boards. Place your board on top of the noodle and tighten ‘er down – not too tight if you’ve got some heavy duty ratchets!
Bikes & Motorcycle Surfboard Racks
Bike and motorcycle surfboard racks are pretty sweet.
If you’re close enough to the beach you get to avoid traffic and parking hassles.
There are a few different types you can find for sale – most of them are pretty similar.
If you’re looking for the best of the best surfboard bike racks, check out the Moved by Bikes bicycle surfboard racks.
These racks are well-designed, made out of high-quality materials, and work great. 5/5 stars.
They’re much sturdier than most of the other surfboard bike racks you’ll find.
Surfboard bike racks attach to either the seat post, frame tubes, or luggage racks depending on the bike and type of board you want to carry.
If you’re going to build your own surf rack for your bike or motorcycle – DON’T USE PVC. Use metal and pad it with foam.
Check out Deus Ex Machina and Island Motorcycles for some of the coolest motorcycle surf rack examples.
Moved by Bikes Surfboard Rack
Moved by Bikes, based in Santa Cruz, California, make some really, really nice surfboard bike racks.
High-quality materials, clean and useful design, and tested and used by their team on a regular basis.
Moved by Bikes bicycle surf racks feature:
- Lightweight aluminum mounting hardware.
- Stainless mounting bolts.
- Quick-release buttons for the bars when you don’t need the racks installed.
- Padding to protect both your bike and your board.
- End hooks to clip a bungee cord to secure your board while riding.
Installation is simple and will work with most bicycles.
They’re quick-release mechanism and slotted fit for the support tubes make for a super sturdy connection that comes on and off in seconds.
The slots in the tubes allow you to change the angle and distance between the arms without worrying about them moving around or slipping when you’re riding.
Depending on what you surf, you’ve got options between their shortboard to mid-length bike rack that attaches to the seat post or cargo rack and their longboard rack which can attach anywhere on your bike with two separate mounting units.
How to Install a Bicycle Surf Rack on Your Bike
Most bike surfboard racks attach under your seat at the seat post.
Others may use the cargo rack and/or your steering tube on the frame.
To install your surf racks on your bike:
- Dry fit the mounting location you want to make sure you’ll have enough room to pedal and control the bike with your board on it.
- Loosen the mounting bolts.
- Add some foam or rubber between the mounting hardware if you want to protect the paint on your bicycle.
- Line up the mounting unit.
- Add some anti-seize lubricant to the bolts.
- Tighten the bolts slowly and evenly. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN.
- Test the fit to make sure it’s secure.
- Add your board.
- Hook up some bungee straps to secure it, and you’re good to go!
Will a Bicycle Surf Rack Work on a Moped or Scooter?
If you’ve got a small motorcycle, moped, or scooter, you can usually find a way to make a bicycle surfboard rack work for it.
It’s easiest to install a surf rack on a motorcycle when you have some sort of luggage/cargo rack with bars to attach it to.
Moved by Bikes and Carver make surf racks designed for mopeds, scooters, and small motorcycles.
The Wave Arcade CT90 uses the Moved by Bikes Moped Surf Rack to carry boards up to ~9′ 5.”